Effects of Rap and Hip Hop music on people of color

As a collective of people, music has become a large part of most of our lives. A majority of us have a favorite song that we cannot get enough of singing. There are many different types of genres of music to choose from. I myself mostly enjoy listening to rap/hip hop and R&B music. I enjoy listening to other types of music such as jazz, pop, rock, a bit of classical and a bit of blues. I mostly listen to rap/hip hop but sometimes the song lyrics are problematic. Now days a lot of rap and hip hop artist communicate negative messages through their music. Unknowing of the effects that their music has on people lives, some lyrics tend to be despicable and very misleading. It has come time as a society for us to support the more positive messages being communicated through rap and hip hop music by its artists.

My research was focused on the negative effects that rap and hip hop music has on people of color. I found that viewing music videos can have various negative effects. Videos that contain misogynistic or violent themes reportedly contribute to violent or misogynistic thoughts. This means that after watching rap or hip hop music videos that has misogynistic or violent themes in them, viewers will become more susceptible to having thoughts related to what they seen. It was proven that women who view rap videos of other women being sexually oppressed showed greater acceptance to violence than females who were not exposed. Behind the scenes of rap and hip hop music videos there was even more tension towards black women of darker skin tones. Dark-skinned black women were seen as unwanted in the background of the music business, while light-skinned black women were frequently given roles as backup dancers. To make matters worse, there is a belief that black women can be exploited and become victims of violence because of the way they carry themselves. Their behavior is defined as “loose and lacking morals” due to appearances in rap and hip hop music videos dancing and playing roles. Objectification and being sexual objects is another concern. A study focused on female rappers Lil Kim and Missy Elliott talked about their lyrics and how they impact outcomes. Constant mentions of sexual interactions of both rappers revealed they were assessing themselves as sexual objects and subjects. Thusly welcoming and submitting themselves to misogyny. This is conflicting because listeners will view what’s being said as acceptable when it is not accepted amongst everyone.

Being exposed to rap and hip hop music videos also had a correlation with lower GPA for Black and Latino youths. Watching rap and hip hop music videos had a more negative impact with school-related outcomes than that of only listening to the lyrics. Devaluation of education has seen growth in communities of color because of the emphasis that is placed on living certain lifestyles and upholding a status. The fast life that rapper live is amusing and their talk about the thug life taints the minds of the youth. Being a thug and pursuing the life that rappers live has become an ideal situation of success. Excelling in school and other aspects of life is mostly frowned upon. Becoming a man is tough and some boys grow up learning that misogyny and violence is to be part of their masculinity. Some of these ideals are learned through rap and hip hop music. Sexual attitudes, behavior and intentions are heavily influenced by rap and hip hop music. Structural factors such as patriarchy play a role by shaping how gender relationships and sexual content are portrayed in the music.

On the flip side, there is positivity that comes from listening to rap and hip hop music. A positive aspect is also derived from viewing music videos. Listeners experienced a boost in collective self-esteem. Rap and hip hop music can also be used to engage the youth. Education researchers discovered that the use of hip hop music in class improved relationships between the students and the teacher. For Black and Latino youth, they scored above the midpoint on scales that measured positive elements of rap music. Despite the negativity that surrounds rap and hip hop music there is still positivity that surrounds it as well.

It is time to start paying more attention to the meaning of the lyrics behind the music. The lyrics are usually self-explanatory most of the time. They tend to promote ill-advised actions and have misleading, derogative influences on masculinities. Distracted by our attraction to the beat attached to the song, we sometimes become oblivious to what is actually being said. Often we fail to realize the effects music have on our lives. Music can either have a negative or positive affect on people. For myself, music plays a positive role in my life. I enjoy music most during extracurricular activities and free time when I typically relax. My music choice is not very reflective of the misogynistic standpoints entailed by much of the music that dominates rap and hip hop music. The mainstream music is more reflective of those standpoints.

In terms of supporting positive music there is old and new music that is out there but a lot of the time we miss out on it. A great example of an older song that is positive and uplifting of women is called “The Light” by Common. Here are some of the lyrics of the song, “It’s important, we communicate and tune the fate of this union, to the right pitch I never call you my bitch or even my boo There’s so much in a name and so much more in you Few understand the union of woman and man and sex and a tingle is where they assume that it land”. Not only did he uplift women, he wrote a message to informs listeners that the union of woman and man is not all about sex and sensations.

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